On Wednesday, February 17, a Delhi trial court acquitted journalist Priya Ramani in the criminal defamation case brought against her by M.J. Akbar, a former minister in the Narendra Modi government.
The defamation case was brought upon Ramani when she accused Akbar of inappropriate behaviour in 1994.
The court ruled that Ramani “cannot be punished for raising her voice against sexual assault” and that she “has the right to put her grievance at any platform even after a decade”.
The court observed that “society must understand the impact of sexual abuse and harassment on its victims”. It also noted that “time has come for our society to understand that sometimes a victim may for years not speak up due to the mental trauma. The woman cannot be punished for raising her voice against sexual abuse”
The Wire traces the case to its verdict and speaks to Priya Ramani and her lawyer, Rebecca John, on what makes the judgment historic.